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The process by which a Last Will and Testament are legally authenticated after the Testator’s death; to establish the validity of a will; or, if there is no will, the process to establish heirs to an estate.


1.) Surety – A person who has made himself or herself responsible for another’s debt or obligation.
2.) Probate assets – A decedent’s assets that are strictly in his or her name alone.
3.) Non-probate assets - A decedent’s assets that are in his or her name and someone else’s or have a beneficiary.
4.) Executor – One designated in a will to administer the estate of the testator.
5.) Administrator – One given the authority by the court to settle the estate of the decedent.
6.) Testate – One who dies leaving a valid will.
7.) Intestate – One who dies without a will.
8.) Beneficiaries – One who has been named in a will to receive from a decedent’s estate.
9.) Heirs – One who inherits property from the decedent’s estate through intestacy.
10.) Bond – Long-term promissory note with stipulated interest issued by a corporation or the government, and obligation under seal.
11.) Appraisement and settlement form – A decedent’s list of assets. Appraisement Papers
12.) Final settlement – Either a waiver or accounting.
13.) Fiduciary commissioner – One of two County Commission Appointed Officials charged with overseeing the probate process.